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Why It’s a Mistake to Prioritize Behavior Goals Over Social-Emotional Development

It was almost dinner- time, and little “Max” was hungry and tired. After a busy and active afternoon, he was in the midst of a lengthy home session with his behavior therapist when his mother stepped in the door from work. Smiling with delight, the boy instinctively ran toward the door to offer a greeting, […]

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Early Intervention: Don’t Let a Diagnosis Define Your Child

More children are being identified with developmental challenges and receiving early intervention than ever before. While a diagnosis is critical to securing services to help children develop to their true potential, it can also have unintended negative consequences, including stress and anxiety for parents. It’s essential to find the help, energy and time for services […]

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Emotional Regulation: The Springboard of Children’s Mental Health

When I was young, I couldn’t wait until my grandmother came to stay with us every summer. We sat in the garden for hours, laughing, talking and playing games. With her by my side, I felt that I could face anything. Her loving presence always helped to calm the storms of my childhood mind. Even […]

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Why We Can’t Let Play Disappear from Children’s Lives

An essential ingredient has been slowly disappearing from children’s lives: free, spontaneous play. Many factors have converged to cause the decline of play. Technology absorbs more and more of children’s attention. Schools pile on academic pressures earlier and earlier. And parents are increasingly opting to place their children in structured extracurricular activities. That makes today’s […]

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Autism Approaches Should Respect Children’s Emotions

Nearly thirty years ago, as a newly minted clinical psychologist, I was fortunate to learn about social-emotional development from the writings of such pioneers as John Bowlby, who launched the field of study known as attachment theory. Bowlby was among the first to recognize the importance of early emotional attachments and their positive impact on […]

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Deconstructing Oppositional Defiant Disorder

By the time Stuart hit second grade, his teachers had pegged him as a “problem child.” They knew he came from a loving home and could discern right from wrong, but still, he frequently started fights and caused classroom outbursts. By tenth grade, he had been in and out of various therapies and special schools. His […]

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The Pacifier Question: Why Not to Make Your Toddler Go Cold Turkey

Robby was two years old when his dentist told his parents that it was time to lose the pacifier. Concerned at the professional’s warning that using it was causing misalignment of the boy’s jaw, they took heed and soon made it disappear. That’s when the trouble began. Before long Robby had difficulty falling asleep. Within […]

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Autism Acceptance: How Celebrating Differences Can Stop Bullying

It seemed like simple gesture. A college football player who was visiting a middle school spotted a red-haired sixth grader eating lunch alone, so he joined him. Then the boy’s mother posted a photo on Facebook capturing the moment: her autistic son sitting across a cafeteria table from Travis Rudolph, the Florida State University wide […]

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Preferred Interests: Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum

Thomas was proud of his young son “Roger’s” remarkable knowledge of birds. Roger’s grandmother, an avid bird watcher, had shared birding books and toy bird replicas with the boy when he was young, and he had shown such great enthusiasm for the topic that at age 3, Roger could identify more than 50 types of birds. […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.9 hours ago
I'm excited to be a part of this exciting mental health summit as we all strive to help children during uncertain times. #Resilience #Relationships #Strategies
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
We must come to awareness of the implicit and explicit bias that exists in education and the justice system, and change our practices now. I wrote this before George Floyd's murder by police officers. Every day children are targeted for their behaviors and because of their skin color. #Blacklivesmatter #Implicitbias #paradigmshift #education #traumaresponsive #ACES
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
Thanks to Eileen Kennedy-Moore for these ideas to help children during difficult times.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 week ago
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” In some places, school is beginning again. In others, parents and teachers are working online. In either case, during these trying times, appreciating the underlying meaning of behaviors is as critical as ever. Our children are under pressure, and bear the pressure through behaviors. Here some tips for school and home. #Covidparents #Education #Specialed #Beyondbehaviors #Polyvagaltheory #mentalhealth

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